The Syrian hamsters are excellent companions because, once you've got to know them, they're easy to care for. Before you decide to bring one home, do your research to make sure it's an animal you'll really enjoy. Learn more about caring for a Syrian hamster in our care guide below!
Physical characteristics of a Syrian hamster
- Weight : 110 - 140g
- Size : about 15 cm
- Color most often golden brown with a lighter belly
- Other characteristics: small eyes and cheeks, short tail
- Life expectancy 2 to 3 years
Personality of a Syrian hamster
Syrian hamsters can be very active and have a strong personality. It is essential that you understand his behavior to ensure that he is happy and healthy.
Quiet and docile
Handling them can be a pleasure because they move slowly and their size fits perfectly in your palm. Syrian hamsters have the reputation of being excellent pets for all ages, especially for children, as they are naturally docile and easy to tame.
They generally reach their sexual maturity at the age of 4 or 5 weeks and must then be separated from hamsters of the opposite sex.
They also become more territorial at 6 to 8 weeks of age, so they must be alone in their cage.
Very lively... at night!
Hamsters are nocturnal and spend most of the day sleeping in their cage. They are most active when the sun goes down, making them perfect pets for those who are busy during the day and want to spend time with them at night!
Taking good care of a Syrian hamster
The ideal cage for Syrian hamsters is a large wire cage with a plastic base ofat least 80 cm (length) x 50 cm (width) x 50 cm (height). This is to ensure good ventilation and sufficient space for your pet to move around.
When you buy litter in pet shopAvoid using scented pine or cedar shavings, as they may irritate your hamster's lungs!
The "sleeping" corner
Since these hairballs spend most of the day in the day to sleepIf you have a child who is not yet ready to leave the house, you may want to consider providing a small, quiet place for them to rest in a secluded area.
Maintenance and cleaning of the cage
You'll need to clean your hamster's cage regularly to maintain a hygienic environment. Here are some tips for cleaning the cage:
- Clean the cage thoroughly once a week with a pet-safe cleaner.
- Hamsters hate sudden changes that stress them out. Their before and after cages should be as similar as possible to minimize their fears.
- When you change the litter, keep some of the clean, dry litter your hamster has already used. Adding it to the fresh litter will make your pet more comfortable and reassuring.
Syrian hamsters are able to wash themselves and do not need frequent baths. In fact, it is not advisable to bathe them at all, as the water can strip the vital protective oils from their coat and cause them to catch a cold.
Fortunately, there are other grooming practices you can adopt to clean your hamster without using water. The only time you should bathe your pet is when there is something toxic or sticky on its coat.
You should also brush your pet:
- For long-haired breeds: twice a week.
- For short-haired breeds: once a week.
Exercise and play
Syrian Hamster in a red exercise wheel
Syrian hamsters are active pets, so they need a variety of toys and other items to exercise, explore and play with.
By placing a wheel for hamster in its cage, you will help it to stay in shape and healthy by allowing them to burn the fat they have acquired. Be sure to choose one with a solid, wide surface to ensure optimal safety.
Tunnels and ladders
The tunnels mimic the natural habitat of this breed and therefore provide them with great comfort. To make the game more interactive, you can also include ladders, as these creatures love to climb!
It is essential to provide toys Syrian hamsters can gnaw on to keep their constantly growing teeth in good condition. Wooden chew toys are a good choice, as they are safe and sturdy and help your pet file down its teeth.
Toilet paper rolls are also a good alternative for these critters. Make sure the material does not contain any dyes to avoid hurting your pet!
What does a Syrian hamster eat?
The diet of a Syrian hamster must be composed of :
- 17 to 22 % of proteins
- 8 to 10 % fibers
- 4 to 6 % of grease
To achieve this perfect balance, it's a good idea to start with a commercial hamster mix, as it's usually an optimal combination of grains, seeds and pellets.
It is also recommended to complete your power supply with a small amount of healthy treats every 2 or 3 days. These may include :
- Cooked chicken, turkey or beef (protein).
- Hard-boiled egg (protein)
- Pine nuts
If you want to reward your hamsters with treats grapes are one of the best options to consider!
Your hamster will also need constant access to clean and fresh water. To do this, attach a water bottle with a metal spout to the side of its cage.
These creatures tend to gather food in their beds and store food in their cheek pouches. Don't overfeed them, and quickly remove any uneaten food from their cage!
Common health problems
Store food in the cheek pouches can sometimes lead to problems. These cheeks can be injured by a sharp corner of the food or by excessive stuffing.
If your hamster seems to have permanently stuffed cheeks, you may want to seek veterinary advice to check for possible infection.
Here are some other common health problems your hamster may face:
Urinary tract infection
Urinary tract infections can be quite common in hamsters because of their small size, which allows bacteria to easily enter the urethra and infect the bladder.
This condition rarely goes away on its own and can quickly develop into a kidney infection. Seek professional help from your veterinarian, who can perform a urinalysis to confirm the diagnosis and provide effective treatment.
- Increased frequency of urination
- Traces of blood in the urine
The wet tail
Wet tail is a deadly health problem that affects Syrian hamsters under 12 weeks of age. If left untreated, your hamster will face severe dehydration, malaise and may die.
The symptoms are:
- Tangled tail
- Foul odor
- Loss of appetite
- Inability to walk properly
The best thing to do is to consult a veterinarian who will prescribe oral medication and antibiotics.
An infection due to fungi
Fungal infections are another common disease in hamsters, the most widespread being ringworm. This disease is often contagious and can be transmitted to other animals and humans. Spot any symptoms beforehand and seek early treatment.
- Circular spots of hair loss
- Dry and scaly skin
Again, consulting a veterinarian is the best option, so that he can prescribe antibiotics if needed, and an antifungal cream.
How much does it cost to maintain a Syrian hamster?
Owning a Syrian hamster is not just about getting a new companion. There are also initial costs to pay and the prices are as follows:
Buy it in a pet store will cost you about 15?.
It is also essential to purchase a cage, water bottle and interactive toys to provide a comfortable home for your pet. You can expect the total cost to be 100 $ and up!
Cost of annual maintenance
For the well-being of your little companion, count :
- Food: 400 ? per year
- Litter: 50? to 100? per year
- Veterinarian: from 40? to 200? per year
These are some of the basic costs you need to cover when caring for your fur ball. Additional costs will be incurred if you decide to purchase other items to pamper him!
Funny Syrian hamsters
Syrian hamsters have many different names
Syrian hamsters take their name from their main place of origin, but they have also been given many other names. Common names include fancy hamsters, teddy bear hamsters and golden hamsters.
Syrian hamsters come in many colors
This breed is traditionally golden in color, but now comes in a range of shades including cream, cinnamon, sable, black, white and patterned variations.
Syrian hamsters exist in long-haired version
Not all Syrian hamsters are short-haired. Some Syrian hamsters may have a long, silky coat. This is more common in male Syrian hamsters due to the increased production of testosterone.
The Syrian hamster is one of the most popular choices among small pets. It is generally easy to tame, fun to watch and low maintenance, making it a good pet for beginners.
Syrian hamsters are rarely aggressive. They usually bite only when they have fear. Fortunately, you can gradually teach your pet to accept being handled and to stop biting.
In conclusion, if you are looking for a small pet, there is nothing cuter than a Syrian hamster! This breed is a great compromise for your family, as it is considered the most child-friendly option.
However, make sure you are fully aware of its needs. You can also learn about other hamster breeds before making a decision!